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If you’re anything like me, your house probably resembles a war zone this morning. Dishes to be put away. Forgot to turn on the dishwasher. Stray glasses hiding here and there. And let’s not talk about the living room. Presents, garbage bag overflowing with wrapping paper, so easily discarded after being so painstakingly applied.

It’s the aftermath. Those few moments when you wake up, walk through the house, and go, “Huh.”

It’s all over. All the preparations. The food. The feasting. The fretting about not having this or that or whether the turkey would turn out. The planning, the partying…over in a day. Sad, isn’t it?

As I sat here this morning, I caught myself thinking, “What in the world do we do this for?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love decorating the house, watching my husband decorate the tree, (he’s very particular), love having the family gather together, the Christmas Eve service…the music, the hokey television shows. And I love Santa. Yes, I do. My kids are grown now, but one day (not any time soon, thank you) we’ll have tiny feet running around this house again, and the magic will return. But today…it’s quiet.

You know what you do this for.

The quiet reminds me of something. Something that took place a long, long time ago, on a lonely hill. It was a bloody mess, frankly. I can’t help thinking of those men and women at the end of that day. The anguish, despair, desperation and sheer terror they surely felt as they watched their friend, brother, son being put to death on a cross. All over in a day. Did they understand the greater meaning? Did they truly know what was happening or what was to come? I imagine all the words Jesus spoke about going to prepare a place and being with his heavenly father dissipated into dark night that day. I imagine the next morning, they felt pretty hopeless. And they probably asked what it was all for? Asked why they walked away from everything they knew, gave up all they had…for what? I wonder if their faith was shaken just a little. We know they stayed together, fasting and praying, but I imagine their thoughts were harried.

And then…the empty tomb. A sliver of hope, perhaps? Well, sort of. Except I think they thought He’d been kidnapped. Somebody moved the body. People don’t rise from the dead you know. That whole Lazarus thing? Well…

But Jesus showed up.

Did he ever. I would have loved to have been in that upper room on that day. Seen the shock, disbelief and then utter joy on their faces. Seen the big grin on His. And maybe a hint of ‘told ya so’ in the sparkle in His eyes.

That’s why we do this. It’s not about the presents. The tree. The food. That’s all Christmess. Yes, Christmess. Take away the mess and what’s left?

Christ. 

One word. So much meaning. So many gifts to offer.

Grace. Mercy. Healing. Redemption. Restoration.

Hope. 

And that’s not over in a day. That’s the future. That’s forever.

Don’t miss it.

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